Monday, September 14, 2015

Dream and fantasy

Photo offered with permission from Michael Ahart. His article is worth reading.
Social media rumor has it that one of our favorite anchorages in FL has been rendered off limits to cruisers. Not directly. The anti-cruising anchoring law failed to pass…this time. Instead, they outlawed tying up a dinghy to get to shore, particularly where there was access to stores and services. The vast majority of the people affected by this new law will be American cruisers. But, because we live on boats, we have become just another group to be disenfranchised.  Somehow, we are not considered "true Americans" any more.

The excuse is getting rid of the derelict boats, but even those who wrote the law know it is just that, an excuse. Derelict boats are already against the law, just like letting a yard turn into jungle is against the law in most of the cities and townships where I have lived. The “fix” for those who ignore their lawn isn't tearing down every house in the neighborhood. But in Florida the “fix” for having poor people living on decrepit old boats is to chase every cruising boat away.

Clearly Floridians, at least some of them who have access to power, simply don't like people who don't live on land.

Ah well, so much for the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

There are 45 million Americans living below the poverty level. It is inevitable that some of them have found living on a decrepit old boat is one way they can keep even a marginal roof over their heads.

Many of those unsightly old boats are, as I have mentioned before, inhabited by veterans, many with a variety of mental and bodily health issues. That any are homeless at all should an embarrassment to the richest nation the planet has ever known.  That some of those homeless are war-damaged veterans should be a source of utter shame for every American, everywhere. Instead, laws are passed to simply chase them away, make them hide somewhere so the shame isn't right out front for everyone to see.

That has become the typical American “fix” for nearly every problem. Hide it, and then insist over and over that the problem simply doesn't exist until people think that is the truth. This will be the main story line of the just-started Presidential Campaign. It isn't a particularly elegant or intelligent way to deal with the world, but it appears to work in the short run. In the long run it leads to the downfall of nations and the end of civilizations.

One of the reasons I like living on a boat is that hiding from the world just isn't an option. There is no ignoring tides, currents, thunderstorms, high winds and big waves when one lives “out here”. Realistic assessments of the boat's conditions, the crews abilities, and the environment are daily responsibilities in a cruiser's life. There is a huge difference between living the dream and living a fantasy void of reality. The Dream can fill a life with purpose, adventure, learning, experience, and wisdom. Trying to live a fantasy devoid of reality will get one killed.

America is living in a fantasy void of reality. It will be the other main story line of the just-started Presidential Campaign.

We will be heading to Florida soon, along with a few thousand other cruisers. Part of my reality is that the welcome will be less than it was.  There is nothing I can do about that. We will be forced to skip what was a nice spot for a break and a provisioning run, even though we should have as much claim to American waters as any American who lives on land.  We may still stop there for a night or two.  Right in the middle of a major metropolis, it has a different kind of beauty than an isolated Cay in the Abacos. There is no provisioning in one of those Cays either, but we still enjoy spending time in them.

There are few people in those isolated places. Sometimes we are the only ones around for miles.  And yet they will be more welcoming than a city full of Americans.  The small Islands that do have residents will be more welcoming still.  Kind of a sad commentary given what kinds of things America likes to boast about...Land of Free, Home of the Brave, Lovers of Liberty, Touchstone of Human Rights, Land of Opportunity, yadda, yadda, yadda...

A fantasy void of reality.


Unknown said...

Totally depressing. Our favorite spots are now a place to stop but the inability to go ashore will only limit their ability to capitalize on our presence!

Unknown said...

Well said!